Target of 20 national titles this year
On Saturday Mick Ives, Team Owner and Director of Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann, introduced some of his 2018 cycle race team to members of the public.
The successful Coventry-based team, which includes riders from Rugby, has a membership of 40 riders, many of whom where unable to attend the launch, due to training abroad commitments and work. A few also having gone down with the flu bug.
During 2017 the team won an incredible 17 British Cycling Championships - and have won a total of over 100 British Championships in the past seven years. Mick says most teams are very lucky if they win just one British Championship in a lifetime!
On Saturday Mick outlined plans for the 2018 season, with a target of at least British Championships, along with a target of 100+ individual victories. He believes it will be a tough task, but judging by the team’s past record, nothing seems impossible.
Once again MI Racing will have as its main sponsor Coventry based Jewson, the UK’s leading Building Merchants, with over 600 branches around the country. The team’s other main sponsors will be Polypipe and McCann. Many other companies will also back the team in some way, including Fibrax, Lake, Vittoria, Kinesis, BBB, FSA, Pro Green MX, Nico Sport and Buff.
Mick also introduced several new members to the team, mainly on the time trial section, with another addition expected to be announced in next few days. All of the recent additions are local riders, all either Seniors or Veterans.
The new road and time trial season is expected to start this coming weekend, unless the weather has a say in it.
Mick said: “We are ready. We have had a brilliant cyclo-cross season, British Veteran Team Champions with Steve Knight, Phil Roach and Kirby Bennett; British 55+ Champion with Phil Roach and Kirby Bennett 3rd; Midland Championships 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Roach, Knight and James, ex World Champion Roach picking up 26 victories and Knight 12.
“Our Youth Academy riders have been winning both at cyclo cross and on the track, where our Veteran riders have also dominated racing both at Derby Velodrome and at Newport, south Wales.
Already Invitations have been received for the Youth Academy to send a team to major events in Belgium, following their brilliant performances in 2017.
Despite the huge success of Team Jewson-MI Racing, Mick pointed out that there is virtually no young talent emerging from the Coventry area,
unlike in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and he felt this was due to having no cycle race or training facilities available in or around the city.
“There use to be a banked outdoor cycle race track, which hosted regular meetings including at least two International meetings a year, bringing the world leading riders to the city and was the breeding ground of so many of our successful local riders,” he said.
“Many British Championships were fought out on the city’s roads, including the British Professional Road Race Championships organised by Coventry Olympic Cycling Club, stages of the Milk Race, Kelloggs Tour, Pru Tour etc. finished in the city centre.
“The British Professional and Amateur Cyclo Cross Championships were held in Allesley Park, organised by Coventry Road Club. Today local organisers cannot get a venue for any of cycling’s many disciplines, despite the cycling industry of the world starting here in the City of Coventry, a city with a cycling history.
“Until there are facilities for the cycling clubs and teams to put on events in or around the city, then I see little future in finding a new Chris Froome or Chris Hoy from our midst. I have to look elsewhere.
“Team MI Racing will continue to promote cycle race events again in 2018, including road, time trial,track, mountain bike, cyclo cross and Sportive Charity Rides and at least two of them will be British Championships, but as usual they will be organised out of the area, some as far away as Derby, where facilities are available. So much for Coventry wanting to become the Sporting City of Europe — pigs might fly!”